Friday, June 1, 2012
The ex-wife of a Budleigh conman has told of her ‘humilation’, learning how man she loved stole her mother’s care home funds and how he lied about having terminal cancer.
Conman David Stanton lied about having terminal cancer to try to win his wife back when she left him after learning he had stolen her frail pensioner mum’s fortune.
Grandmother Ruth Stanton, 68, of Fairview Terrace, Exmouth, this week said she had been left feeling ‘stupid and humiliated’ by the man she loved and trusted for 29 years.
Stanton on Monday pleaded guilty in court to stealing almost a quarter of a million pounds.
Left ‘destitute’ and living ‘like a bag lady’ when she was forced to declare bankruptcy because of her husband’s continued deceit, Mrs Stanton says she was unable to pay for her mother’s funeral without first cashing in the old lady’s Premium Bond.
The mother of four says she learned of Stanton’s dishonesty when he revealed: “There’s no money. Everything is gone.”
Mrs Stanton, who now lives in a rented flat and is working as a carer to pay her way, said jail would be satisfactory justice for Stanton’s treatment of her late mother.
She said: “Once he gets sentenced, I will be able to draw a line under it.
“I can’t ever forgive what he did. He’s never ever said sorry.
“Mummy was such a vulnerable person. I never thought he would do something to jeopardise that. He used to visit her every day, knowing full well what he had done.
“I don’t think she knew. If she did, she never let on. I told her I had left David and she asked me if it was about money.
“My mother ended up staying in a tiny little room in the nursing home, funded by social services.”
David Stanton, 68, of Victoria Place, Budleigh Salterton, this week admitted pocketing money from the sale of deaf and blind pensioner Fanny Epps’ home when his West Country mobility business failed.
While he enjoyed expensive holidays and driving top-of-the-range cars, Mrs Stanton says her 94-year-old mother’s care was in jeopardy because he failed to pay the bill.
Stanton had access to the pensioner’s cash after being given joint Power of Attorney to sell her London house after the pensioner had suffered a fall.
Mrs Epps moved into a local nursing home and Mrs Stanton said he told her the house funds were invested on the money market to pay for the care.
Mrs Stanton says the nursing home owners tried to talk to Stanton about non-payment for ‘quite a while’ without success.
“David was so clever. Whatever stories he gave them, they believed him,” said Mrs Stanton, who married David after being widowed with four children.
“He was an amazing salesman and an amazing conman.
“We all thought he had done what he said he had done, but when I left him, I discovered there was no money. It had all gone along with our business.
“He was spending money we did not have and using my credit cards. He said on paper we were millionaires.
“Even the bank manager said he had ‘so many balls in the air’. But David insisted all was fine.”
The couple ran several successful mobility businesses, but they eventually folded and their £400,000 home in Westbourne Terrace, Budleigh Salterton, was repossessed and BMW cars returned when she says Stanton’s spending spiralled out of control.
Mrs Stanton says her husband had seven different bank accounts and was using five credit cards issued in her name.
She left him when she learned the money had gone.
Stanton began rapidly began losing weight, she recalled. It was then she said he told her he had terminal cancer.
Mrs Stanton said the fake illness was a move to win her back after leaving him.
She says she learned how low he was prepared to stoop after she had booked a ‘last holiday’ for the ‘dying’ man.
“He made up a story about cancer,” said Mrs Stanton. “He wanted to get me back and thought that would be the only way.
“I used to take him chicken soup. I thought he was going to die.”
Convinced her now six-stone husband was terminally ill, she says she took out a credit card to pay for a final holiday.
“I thought it would be a nice thing to do, even though he had done all those horrible things.”
On the morning they were due to leave, Mrs Stanton said her husband claimed he had a doctor’s appointment.
“I said ‘If this is a lie I will never speak to you again’. He phoned me later to say he didn’t have a doctor’s appointment and didn’t have cancer.
“A lot of people thought I left David when he had cancer. I would never have left him if he had been ill - even knowing what he had done
“I should have left him years ago. I never should have given him power of attorney. I did love him so much. In the early days he was wonderful. But so many things have happened. I am not sure if anything was real.”